New writers need to trust themselves, Marilynne Robinson advises in an interview with Thessaly La Force for VICE. “The idea that you might do something radically brilliant—that assumption is very empowering and it has given the world a lot of really interesting things to look at,” she said.
On January 25th, if you're in New York City, you could do worse than to listen to a handful of New York Magazine editors discuss non-fiction storytelling. The event is being held in conjunction with Longreads and Housing Works Bookstore Café.
“Garth Greenwell’s project with What Belongs to You is to remind us how illicit cruising and anonymous sex figure within the modern gay identity. As the gay marriage movement helps sanitize (and de-sexualize) queerness, Greenwell brings the dark and sordid elements of sex and promiscuity back into sharp relief.” Over at Pacific Standard, Nathan Smith writes on the new gay novel. Pair with the Millions review of Greenwell’s book.
"I didn’t really understand what reading was for. If I wanted a story, the thing to do was to get my grandmother to read it to me. Then listening to her voice, her story-reading voice which always sounded a little incredulous, marvelling, yet full of faith, bravely insistent, and watching her face, its meaningful and utterly familiar expressions—lifted eyebrows, ominously sinking chin, brisk little nods of agreement when, as sometimes happened, a character said something sensible—then I would feel the story grow into life and exist by itself, so that it hardly seemed to me that she was reading it out of a book at all; it was something she had created herself, out of thin air... But one summer I had the whooping-cough, and afterwards I could not go swimming or jump off the beams in the barn or boss my little brother, because by that time he had the whooping-cough himself. My grandmother was off somewhere, visiting other cousins. So I swung on my swing until I got dizzy, and then for no reason in particular I took the Child’s History out of the bookcase in the front room, and sat down on the floor and started to read." Alice Munro writes about A Child's History of England, the first book she ever read.
Can you hear me, Major Tom? The world lost one of the good ones today in David Bowie; celebrate his enormous contributions to art as we know it and take a look at this list of Bowie's 100 essential books which includes everyone from Camille Paglia to Anthony Burgess. Bonus: here's a link to Bowie singing "Changes" in what became his final live performance.